Mini-PCs are small, capable devices that can deliver the computing power of desktop PC from 2-3 years ago.
Most users do not need the latest i7 processor teamed-up with 16 GB of RAM, they only need a computer capable of performing basic to medium tasks.
Compared to regular desktop PCs, mini-PCs are cheaper, they run on less power, have eye-catching design and don’t take as much space on your desk.
Mini-PCs can also be customized for specific performance.
The main downside is represented by the task limitation they impose, with very few exceptions. You cannot use a mini-PC to edit videos of photos because the results will not be satisfying.
Also, don’t buy a mini-PC to use it to play games, it simply does not have the computing and the graphics power to run games smoothly.
If you do want a small, portable gaming device, check out this mini-tower gaming PC from MSI.
Gigabyte BXi5-4570R (recommended)
This mini–PC is indeed a monster. It is powered by an Intel Core i5-4570R 3.2GHz processor with 16 GB of RAM.
According to users‘ feedback, it boots in five seconds. The Iris Pro graphics 5200 card offers vivid images and supports 4K resolution output. Four USB-3.0 are available for connectivity.
Gigabyte‘s mini–PC weighs 5 pounds/ 2.3 kilos which is more than regular mini–PCs, but the extra-weigh is actually due to the high-quality materials used to build it.
MSi i7 Cubi-028BUS (suggested)
This device is one of the few mini–PCs powered by a 6th Gen Intel processor, more specifically Intel i7 5500U with 3.0 GHz. Other CPU configurations are available, but we will describe the i7 version.
It has a noise level of 20.1dB and the two-ball Fan Heatsink feature provides better CPU protection. For fast data transfer capabilities, it supports Intel Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.
Cubi is very small compared to its impressive computing power: 4.5 x 4.4 x 1.7 inches, weighing only 1.1 pounds / 0.5 kilos.
Acer Revo One mini-PC
This is definitely not your standard definition of a mini–PC. It is small, but is extremely powerful.
Powered by an Intel Core i5-5200U 2.2GHz (3MB cache) processor with 8 GB of RAM, Acer Revo is indeed “a world of entertainment in a mini PC“, as the manufacturer describes it.
The Intel HD Graphics 5500 card together with the 1TB hard-drive make it the best mini–PC to store and watch movies.
Revo One also allows you to use your smartphone as a remote, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your couch.
Lenovo Thinkcenter M700
Thinkcenter M700 is one of the few mini–PCs equipped with 6th Gen Intel processors for blazing-fast responsiveness.
Unlike other devices, it has been tested to military specifications against high temperatures, vibrations and shocks.
This mini–PC will be just fine even if your three-year old drops it to the ground. Lenovo‘s dust shield reduces dust intake by nearly 40%.
M700 is packed with plenty of ports: 6 USB 3.0 ports, DP + DP, LAN, audio ports, and an optional VGA, HDMI. With all these features, you may be wondering how big it is: 1.36″ x 7.20″ x 7.05″ / 34.5 x 182.9 x 179 cm, weighing only 1.3 lbs /0.6 kg.
This mini–PC comes with audacious specs for its size. It is powered by an Intel 1.6 Ghz dual-core i5-5250U processor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 which gives you extra GHz on demand and packs 16 GB of RAM – sold separately.
Images are stunningly clear thanks to its HD Graphics 6000 card. It weighs only 2.2 lbs/1 kilo. The high-speed USB 3.0 charging port allows you to connect and charge your tablet or smartphone.
HP Pavilion 300-230 Mini Desktop
If we were to choose three words to describe this mini–PC, they would be: powerful, elegant, fast.
The device is powered by anIntel Core i3-5005U 2.0 GHz processor, is equipped with a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive, combined with 4 GB SDRAM. It has 5.7 x 5.7 x 2.1 inches in dimension and weighs only 1.5 pounds.
HP Pavilion 300-230 mini–PC uses only 45 watts of power, delivers a truly authentic audio experience thanks to the B&O PLAY feature and is multi-display compatible.
It is equipped with four USB-3.0 ports for extra connectivity.
HP Pavilion 300-240 mini-PC
If you like the HP Pavilion 300-230 mini–PC, but you think it’s too expensive, you could buy the HP Pavilion 300-240 for almost half the price. This more affordable mini–PC is equipped with a 1.5 GHz Intel Celeron 3205U processor with 2 GB SDRAM.
It has a 32 GB hard disk and it runs Windows 10 Home.
It is multi-display compatible, offers extra connectivity through its four USB-3.0 ports and has the same specs in terms of dimension and weighs as its Pavilion 300-230 brother.
This mini–PC does not impress through its design but has interesting specs. An Intel Core i3-3227U (2M Cache, 1.90 GHz Dual core) processor fuels its computing power, together with 8G of RAM and a storage capacity of 64G SSD.
The pre-installed OS is Windows 7.
Mi3227 does not support Bluetooth and it consumes a maximum of 23 watts of power. It weighs only 2.2 pounds /1.5 kilos.
The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop Pro
This mini-PC has been developed for professionals and offers solid security features including a fingerprint reader and TPM 2.0.
It is powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 processor, 2GB of memory and a 32GB eMMC drive.
It’s also equipped with Intel HD Graphics with shared graphics memory and a battery life of four hours.
Buy the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop Pro from Amazon. This mini–PC had a lower price-tag at the Microsoft Store, but it’s out of stock now.
ZBOX Mini PC
This is actually a mini-stick PC that comes in two variants: PI221 and PI220. Both models are powered by Intel CherryTrail Atom processors, with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage.
These are equipped with one HDMI port, one card reader, one USB 3.0 port and a Wi-Fi antenna. Windows 10 is pre-installed.
The chassis is made entirely of metal to cool efficiently. This mini–PC is 5 inches / 131mm long, small enough to slide it in your pocket.
For the time being, no information is available concerning its availability or price tag. We’ll learn more at Taiwan Computex 2016 at the beginning of June, when Zotac will introduce this mini–PC.
Acer Revo Base Mini PC
This mini–PC was announced at IFA 2016 and has a 14 x 14cm/ 5.1 x 5.1 inch footprint and 5cm/ 2 inches in height.
Revo Base Mini has a flexible configuration, and can also be powered by Intel Core i7 processors, becoming a genuine powerhouse.
If you need a powerful PC for home entertainment, this is the right choice for you.
The Intel HD graphics on board deliver crystal-clear images for the best movie experience in the comfort of your home.
Windows 10 is pre-installed on the Revo Base Mini, and the 2TB HDD offers you enough storage capacity for you to download as many movies as you wish. A 256GB SSD version is also available.
In terms of connectivity, this mini–PC has a display port, an HDMI port that can support two screens at once, four USB 3.1 ports, and a LAN cable.
This mini–PC was also introduced at IFA 2016 and is powered by a an Intel Atom–X5 Z8300 processor. Other features include 2 GB of RAM, pre-installed Windows 10 Home, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 as well as microUSB for extra connectivity.
Thanks to the passive cooling system, TrekStor W3 is noiseless, making it the perfect choice for noise-restricted environments.
TrekStor W3 has a very small footprint of only 98 x 98 x 22,5 mm/ 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.9 inches.
For the time being, no information is available regarding the release date and the price tag. We’ll update this article as soon as new information is available.
While all these mini–PCs that we mentioned above are indeed the best, at least in our opinion, there are many others which are being released.
So we will mention them here briefly and will provide a deeper review later on.
Newest Mini-PCs released this year
- Intel Skull Canyon NUC
- Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny
- Alienware Alpha R2
- ASUS VivoMini
- HP Elite Slice
- Intel Compute Stick
Speaking of mini PCs, it is worth mentioning that Chinese manufacturer CHUWI is working on a new mini gaming PC called CHUWI HiGame. The device should land later this year or in 2019 in the worst case scenario.
Have you already tested out one of these mini–PCs? Do share with us your experience.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.